What’s the difference between a generic business and local unique shops?

There’s an entire area in my city that’s practically void of pokestops and gyms but there are plenty of business signs and unique local businesses to make wayspots out of. I’ve been trying to submit them as stops but they’re getting rejected over being generic businesses. To me, a generic business is like a McDonalds, Burger King, Wal Mart, etc. It seems as though that whoever is voting has a different definition of generic though because they’re rejecting my submissions as generic businesses. So what do you all consider a unique shop versus a generic business? This area is a great area to explore, even I myself am still learning about new businesses in the area. It’s a business park/commercial area that’s growing in popularity as a lot of new businesses are starting to move in.

1 Like

Business parks and commercial areas typically don’t meet the exploration criteria. If there is a business there that meets criteria, like a local cafe/restaurant or unique store, like a book store or local fitness studio, those would meet criteria.

I have gotten many nominations for places like this, mainly their signs, and they really aren’t very distinct. They are usually something I reject.


I tend to look at businesses the same way you seem to. McDonald’s: no, Viv’s Cafe: Yes.

So showing us an example of the rejected submission would be helpful.

It may be a problem with the way you’re presenting them. For example, you just referenced poke-stops and gyms in your post. But you’re not actually submitting pokestops. You’re submitting points of interest (poi’s) or wayspots/waypoints. Don’t forget that Niantic has several games besides pokemon go that use the same platform. So using game specific language can bother some reviewers.


These are mostly unique but having something extra to convince reviewers that’s it’s worthy is the important part with any business nomination I think.

Does it host events, have awards, do something locally in the community, set in a specific location, have local or national history attached to it or the building, do the owners have a story that is integral to how their business is run are all things that can help.

This was a relatively easy sell due to its location and what it is.

This a bit more 50/50 as generally there are plenty of Italian restaurants to be found.

This probably would have been accepted but the history definitely helped.

The location helped push this through I think

This was surprising as my picture was terrible but I couldn’t get an image without people sitting inside. The socialising and community side helped


A generic business is to my eyes something that doesn’t offer anything special beyond basic retail/service. What makes a place stand out in terms of the three criteria socialize, exercise and explore? Why would you go there rather than an alternative business offering the same goods/services? What makes the place unique rather than just another retail/service provider.


Business parks are not necessarily generic, but they typically are not distinct. These types of areas are all over the place these days, and while they may be busy areas, it’s due usually to the businesses within, and not all of the businesses inside will meet criteria.

I’ll give an example of one in my area called Times Square. The only business at this business park that has a Wayspot is a locally owned Mexican restaurant, which is a great place to socialize. It does have a clock tower that is a Wayspot, but that is unique architecture, something people may want to explore. None of the other businesses have Wayspots, nor does the business park, as most do not meet criteria for social/exercise/explore, or are generic businesses, like a chain business.

Yes, if I get a McDonald’s or Costco while reviewing, I mark these are generic businesses for rejection. There are other businesses that can be considered generic that aren’t chains, but it rarely comes up. If I get a sign for a business park or commercial area, and there are many in the area, I thumbs down on Permanent and Distinct.

I can go down any major street where I live and find these business parks and commercial areas, which is why I do not view them as distinct. They aren’t generic businesses in my eyes, instead they aren’t distinct enough to have a Wayspot.

1 Like

I never really thought about the distinct part. That kind of seems lame imo because distinct is quite a subjective concept. If there are 10 locally owned business in a row but only 2 have signs in front of their businesses next to the curb, there is no denying that those two businesses are distinct because the remaining ones don’t have those signs. You may be able to drive to another city/area and see the same kind of wayspot, but the same can be said for a lot of wayspots. Wooden bridges, pergolas, dedication plaques, playground sets, picnic areas, etc. Do you reject those kind of wayspots as well? It’s kind of a rhetorical question because it doesn’t matter if you do it personally, plenty of people have voted yes to those kind of spots so obviously they’re distinct even though you can drive to another area and see the same kind of thing. Any thoughts on that?


A wooden footbridge may be a great place for exercise, if on a trail or path, and/or a great place to explore, especially if in, say, a nature preserve, so no, I don’t reject. Playgrounds are great for socializing and exercise, pergolas and picnic areas may be great for socializing, etc. The most recent featured Wayspot in my area was a picnic area with a pergola at a local apartment complex, and yes, I did vote to approve it.

Yes, some business parks and commercial areas have Wayspots, but they may have ben allowed in the past, or the submitter was able to get it through the system. There is a sign for one in my area that got approved during the last global challenge, along with a chain restaurant, and I never received either of those nominations for review. There are already plenty of great Wayspots in this area at nearby parks, art pieces, and local non-chain businesses. Now, I can’t do anything to get them removed. As for the LFLs on PRP that got approved during the challenge, I have been able to get those removed.

1 Like

What makes something a “local unique shop” is very subjective. It’s also a category where some reviewers may set unreasonably high (IMO) standards on acceptance.

It’s up to the submitter to show this business is something special in the area. A restaurant that serves Pakistani food on a small island community in Alaska is an obvious example. (Yes, I’ve seen something similar to that in review) But it need not be that unusual.

You’ll improve your chances if you take a bit of time to sell the nomination – some are harder than others. Show your reviewers how this business meets criteria. What’s different about it? What makes it cool? Feel free to use the supporting information to share links to news articles about it. Be creative, but truthful, in telling people who won’t be from your city/town/community about the place.

Now, you don’t have to go to extremes and write an essay, but a decent description with good support goes a long way to escapting the curse of “generic business”.

Alternately, it is usually easier to get things at or in a business approved. Look for murals, statues, permanent art, etc… Is the business in an historic building (that can be documented). These can be easier options.


But what is the reason for your biased opinion on business parks? There is nothing in the guidelines that states business parks are off limits. They are good places to explore because you can learn about local businesses and start supporting them with your business. Then by supporting them you help strengthen the community. People who work in these areas go for walks or jogs around them on their breaks to get exercise. Having wayspots near them can encourage more players who work in the areas to go for walks on their breaks and get exercise. There are convenience stores and restaurants sometimes where the workers will go to get food and socialize. I just don’t understand why there’s a bias towards business parks

1 Like

I go into detail with practically every wayspot submission I’ll make. Especially when it’s a local business who has good products or service. I’ll go on their website/instagram and use their own “about” info as the description. I’ll mention what they do, what they’re famous for, what the area is like, etc. I’ll write well over a paragraph but not as much as I’ve seen some people write. I take good pictures with a good camera, I’ll even try to get other wayspots in the background of the surrounding picture so that voters can verify the location easier. Seems like there’s just a major bias towards business parks for whatever reason. They’re great places to explore. You can learn about local business and start supporting them which helps build the community. Workers go for walks and jogs on their breaks to get exercise, having wayspots around them can encourage them to go for walk to get exercise/promote a healthy lifestyle.


Actually, most see business parks this way, as not being distinct. A place you go to do business isn’t a great place to rxplore, either. You also haven’t provided any screenshots or detailed information of your nomination, so all we can do is generalize about it at this point.

They are extremely hard to sell to reviewers, and whenever someone has posted about why the 1 they nominated was rejected, it is almost always noted that they’re hard to get approved, even on appeal. There are reviewers, like myself, that don’t find them very distinct since there are so many of them these days. Many will encourage the submitter to see if there are any of the businesses in the park that may meet criteria, and encourage submissions for those places.

A place where a community goes to do any kind of business doesn’t make it a great place to be social, exercise, or explore. Business parks are all over the place these days, like I noted before, which do not make them very distinct. There are some business parks that have Wayspots, but many have been in the games for almost a decade, and criteria has changed since then.

You’re welcome to resubmit your nomination for the business park, but again, just from what you’re describing, it’s extremely hard to sell to reviewers for more than 1 reason, and may be harder to sell to the appeals team, if you choose to go that route.


I am passionate in defending restaurants as possible wayspots. The restaurant should be something you’d recommend to a visitor passing through the area.
Taco place that’s been a local staple for 20 years. Locally owned restaurant with a side room used for parties. The absolute best burger joint around. Candy shoppe that makes excellent chocolates in house. These are great.

I tend to reject as generic business things that visitors to an area wouldn’t really have interest in going to. Things I’ve seen that I couldn’t get behind would include car shops, vets, dentists, convenience stores, newly opened restaurants that haven’t made a name for themselves, etc etc.

The second category can still get wayspots, however! Look for artwork! Murals, sculptures, etc.


The social side of other businesses can help - florists generally probably don’t qualify, but a florist that provides flower-arranging evenings might. Bookshops that also host a book club could be good. Does a place offer more than basic retail.


In some countries, it is difficult to pass off local shops or restaurants as interesting waypoints, so I have to appeal each time, it seems complicated to me

1 Like

I love that you provide a good amount of supporting information, this definitely helps a lot. I see so many submissions with a single sentence that does nothing to convince me that what’s being submitted is unique or interesting in any way.


A very important element for me is the reasons given for approving the waypoint. Data such as years it has been in operation or data that make it special (decoration, monthly activities such as live concerts, local art exhibitions). Many times the wayfarers just put something like “there are few pokéstops here” and the truth is that many times you find an ordinary restaurant that is surrounded by many other similar restaurants.


You’re still not answering my question about why you have a bias towards business parks. A wayspot doesn’t have to meet all the criteria of exploring, socialize and exercise. You can learn about new businesses you didn’t know about before from exploring business parks. People who work in the business parks do in fact go for walks in the business parks on their breaks for exercise. Having more wayspots in business parks could encourage more workers to get out and go for walks on their breaks. You can socialize at convenience stores and restaurants. The guidelines don’t say anything about Business parks being off limits. I really hope niantic sees your comments because you and all the players who have this bias towards business parks are preventing the improvement of their game.

1 Like

I can also explore garbage cans to see what my neighbors had for dinner. That doesn’t mean a garbage bin is a good POI. Very few people choose to go “exploring” in business parks to see the local tax accountant, document retrieval specialists, medical orthotics fitters, etc that are found in generic business parks.

If a business park has an actual trail, then that is absolutely eligible. But just saying “people can walk around in the parking lot” doesn’t make a business park a great place to exercise.


Thank you! My point exactly! Niantic wants distinct, unique, interesting Wayspots. If every convenience store had a Wayspot, I think there would be a good number of upset players and a possible PR disaster for Niantic to deal with.

And again, we can only generalize, as no info has been provided by the OP about their rejected nomination.